Just when you thought you'd figured out your work/life balance we have a new question for you to ponder: How is your plant/life balance?
On March 2, 2011, the Nursery and Garden Industry Australia (NDIA) initiated a huge campaign to engage young people in the world of gardening by giving away over 20,000 office plants to workers in CBDs around Australia. A fun and interactive Facebook page saw over 17,000 people like the initiative, including a majority who registered their plants, posted photos of them, received reminders on when to water them, got involved in competitions and learnt interesting facts about plants over the course of 10 weeks. Over 90 per cent of the participants reported a greater appreciation of plants and went on to invest in more at the end of the 10 weeks.
March 2 falls on a Saturday this year, making it a little harder to take a plant to work that day, but Plant/Life Balance Day is definitely still worth celebrating.
How can you get involved?
- Check out the Plant/Life Balance website or Facebook page to see what events are on and which nurseries are supporting the campaign in your area.
- You could be one of the lucky recipients of a free indoor plant. Ambius Australia is giving away 10,000 indoor plants across the country this year to celebrate the day.
- Make a trip to your local nursery and buy a plant for your home or office. Read on to find out the best plant for your space.
- Educate yourself on the benefits of plants in your home or office. Here are some facts to get you started.
Why are plants beneficial to our home or workplace?
- Plants improve air quality. Harmful toxins emitted from synthetic materials in furniture, fittings, paint and computers as well as carbon dioxide from other people can cause headaches, loss of concentration and asthma among other problems. Just one plant per room can help improve air purity by 80 per cent. If you are at home, put a plant in the kitchen and, at work, keep one near your computer to absorb those toxins.
- Plants improve mood and reduce stress. According to research conducted by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), staff with a plant in their office reported a 30-60 per cent reduction in stress levels and negative feelings. In a survey of 450 office workers, those who had a plant in their office scored higher in job satisfaction and actually preferred an indoor plant to a view of greenery. Flowers in particular generate happiness by increasing positive energy and helping people feel relaxed. Be sure to mention that one to your significant other…
- Plants are an inexpensive way to beautify your area. If your office or home is feeling bland and uninspiring, add a plant or two. Not only will it help you feel more satisfied and proud of your space, it will be exude a calming effect and be welcoming to others as well. Swap out those dusty silk flowers for some real-life greenery today. Indoor plants come in all shapes and sizes, from tall and striking for a modern style to smaller, softer leaves for a cosy cottage feel.
The best indoor plant for your home or workplace
- Air-conditioned: Only some plants can handle air-conditioning so go for hardy, large-leafed plants like the snake plant or mother-in-laws tongue from the Sansevieria species. This curiously named plant has stiff, upright leaves that are long and sharp on the ends. It was featured in NASA’s top 10 household air cleaning plants and can grow 70 to 100 centimetres tall. While it prefers a brightly lit area, the striking plant is very forgiving.
- Limited natural light: Plants that have large dark green leaves are naturally suited to shadier conditions. The peace lily or Spathiphyllum is one of the most popular indoor plants and will grow just about anywhere in your house. This glossy-leafed plant regularly sprouts an elegant tall white flower and can grow 30 to 70 centimetres tall. Also ranked in the NASA top 10 household air cleaning plants, peace lilies do not require much water and are notably resilient to pests.
- Seriously lack time: While all of the plants mentioned are low maintenance, the Zanzibar gem or Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, is virtually indestructible. A mass of shiny, waxy leaflets, this plant is almost a cross between a fern and a succulent. It is great for high or low levels of light and is renowned for its ability to thrive on neglect. The Zanzibar gem grows to around 60 centimetres tall and only needs to be watered about once a month.
More ways to appreciate plants in your life
Make your backyard more livable
Rediscover the beauty of your own backyard
The beautiful Sydney Botanic Gardens